Albert Herring press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  February 6, 2008
CONTACT: Julia Sheridan, 503-295-3508
download pdf here


A L B E R T   H E R R I N G

with guest artist Brenda Harris (Norma, 2007)

MARCH  14, 16m, 18, 20, 24, 26, 28, 30m, 2008 / PORTLAND OPERA STUDIO THEATER

Portland Opera is pleased to announce the Company premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, opening March 14 for eight performances in the Portland Opera Studio Theater.  While Albert Herring may not seem to fit the season theme—Great Women of the Stage—Britten’s comic chamber opera actually is all about the search for a great woman—the perfect May Queen.  

In this rural English village, however, there’s no fittingly chaste young woman to be found, at least according to Lady Billows, who lords over the town while standing on her moralistic high ground.  She considers the town an immoral wasteland lacking suitable virgins for the pageant.  So the town throws off tradition and opts instead for a May King.  Amid giggles, catcalls and jibes of all kinds, our unlikely hero is crowned.  Albert Herring is a tender and hilarious coming of age tale, where a young man sheds his mamma’s boy image quite decidedly and with great flair.

 “As with all great comedies, the great ones are great human works,” says General Director and Albert Herring Stage Director, Christopher Mattaliano.  “Britten is an acknowledged master of the theater,”  he continues, “and manages to capture the human condition while being genuinely funny.  Albert Herring ranks right up there with the great operatic comedies.  The audience will recognize these characters and a key moment in life…the painful, yet exhilirating, transition from adolescence to adulthood.”

Those who enjoyed Portland Opera’s production of Norma in 2007 will not soon forget the power and beauty of acclaimed soprano BRENDA HARRIS in the title role.  Ms. Harris returns—with her husband, vocal coach Braeden Harris—for a six-week artist-in-residency, during which she will sing Lady Billows in Albert Herring.  Ms. Harris will also conduct public master classes for the Studio Artists.  Her husband will provide valuable vocal coaching to the Studio Artists, an important element of their training.

Casting also features all five Studio Artists who will sing the following roles:  BRENDAN TUOHY (Remendado in Carmen, 2007) sings the title role; SHARIN APOSTOLOU (Clorinda in Cinderella, 2007; Frasquita in Carmen, 2007) sings Miss Wordsworth;  HANNAH SHARENE PENN (Tisbe in Cinderella, 2007; Mercédès, Carmen in Carmen, 2007) sings Nancy; CHRISTOPHER CLAYTON (Dancaïro in Carmen, 2007; First Priest in The Magic Flute, 2007; Ulysses in The Return of Ulysses, 2006; Wagner in Faust, 2006) sings Mr. Gedge and JEFFREY G. BERUAN (Zuniga in Carmen, 2007; Second Armored Man in The Magic Flute, 2007; Tempo, Neptune, Antinoo in The Return of Ulysses, 2006) sings Superintendent Budd.  Portland Opera Chorus Master ROBERT AINSLEY (The Return of Ulysses, 2006) conducts and CHRISTOPHER MATTALIANO directs the action.  Since becoming the Company’s General Director, Mattaliano has directed well-received productions of Cinderella (2007), The Magic Flute (2007), Macbeth (2006), The Rape of Lucretia (2005), and The Journey to Reims (2004).

The 2007/08 Season marks the third year of the Portland Opera Studio Program, in which some of the nation’s finest young singers join the company for an intensive, nine-month training program.  These singers take on many of the season’s smaller roles on the mainstage, perform in a special recital, and are featured in the Studio Theater production.  In addition to these opportunities and a rigorous training program, the young artists provide a strong, artistic presence in Portland Opera’s wide-ranging community activities.

Chamber operas offer riches to composers, performers and audiences alike.  Things not possible on the Keller Auditorium mainstage become magical in the intimacy of the 168-seat Portland Opera Studio Theater.  Lyricism, comedy, and unbounding energy characterize this modern classic and give each of our Studio Artists a unique opportunity to shine.

Albert Herring is sponsored in part by a generous friend of Portland Opera.


Albert Herring Brendan Tuohy
Lady Billows Brenda Harris
Mayor Upford Jon Kolbet
Miss Wordsworth Sharin Apostolou
Mr. Gedge Christopher Clayton
Nancy Hannah Sharene Penn
Superintendent Budd Jeffrey G. Beruan
Mrs. Herring Alexis Hamilton
Florence Andrea Compton-Sanchez
Sid Thomas Prislac
Conductor Robert Ainsley
Stage Director Christopher Mattaliano
Scenic Designer Curt Enderle
Costume Designer Sue Bonde
Lighting Designer Don Crossley



Music Benjamin Britten
Libretto Eric Crozier (based on Guy de Maupassant’s story Le Rosier de Madame Husson)
Lyrics Sung in English with projected lyrics
World Premiere June 20, 1947, Glyndebourne
Portland Opera Premiere March 14, 2008
Performances March 14, 16m, 18, 20, 24, 26, 28, 30m, 2008


Back Talk
Immediately after each opera performance, audiences are invited to join General Director Christopher Mattaliano and an interesting variety of guests that will include fresh-from-their-dressing-room performers, directors and conductors for a 20-30 minute Q&A.  Free!

(Calendar Editors Kindly Note)

3/9     Albert Herring Preview, 2pm, Multnomah County Central Library.  Free!

3/13     Albert Herring Preview on “Northwest Previews,” All Classical 89.9 fm, at 6pm.

A preview is a 50-minute lecture/recital presented by Portland Opera’s Department of Music and Education. Each preview features live music from the upcoming mainstage performance, as well as important historical information relating to the opera.

Albert Herring is sponsored by a generous friend of Portland Opera.


Single tickets at $75 can be purchased:

BY PHONE:    Portland Opera Box Office, 503-241-1802, Toll-free 866-739-6737,
Mon – Fri 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Ticketmaster, 503-790-ARTS (days, evenings, and weekends).
IN-PERSON:    Portland Opera Box Office, 211 SE Caruthers St. (just south of OMSI, off Water Ave.)  Mon – Fri  9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Ticketmaster outlets, Portland Center for the Performing Arts (SW Broadway & Main).  

6:30 RUSH: Students/Senior/Military, $10 per ticket, 1 hour prior to show only,
all available seats. 1 ticket per person, valid ID required.

For other information about tickets or the Portland Opera production of
Albert Herring, please visit our website at:

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